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Buried Treasure in West Malvern

OGA Whole School

A time capsule that was buried at St James’s School to mark its centenary in 1996 is to be given a new home.

The old army ammunition box, painted in St James’s blue, was buried in the lower terrace of the West Malvern school as part of the school’s centenary celebrations. After the merger of St James’s and Malvern Girls’ College in 2006 to become Malvern St James Girls’ School (MSJ), the St James’s buildings were sold and became Regents Theological College. Members of the College’s team suggested returning the time capsule to MSJ.

A report about the time’s capsules burial appeared in the Malvern Gazette on 8th November 1996 and gave a list of contents. These included photographs, a school magazine, a school tie, coins, stamps, a piece written by one of the girls about life at St James’s, Twentieth Century technology used or made by the girls and a cassette tape recorded by the school choir.

Hannah Gill, who was Head Girl of St James’s and part of the original team who buried the capsule in 1996, was there to help remove the time capsule from its hiding place of over 20 years. She was joined by her parents, as well as Miss Elizabeth Mullenger, Headmistress of the school in 1996, and Roger Woolley, Estates Manager at St James’s and the Abbey and latterly Maintenance Technician at Regents College until his very recent retirement.

Hannah, who now lives in Tenbury Wells, commented, “I thoroughly enjoyed returning to school, along with my parents, on such a beautiful day to unearth the time capsule I helped bury over 20 years ago. It was a fabulous occasion although we weren't expecting it to be so difficult to unearth! It was very exciting to see the fabulous blue colour of the munitions box still as bright as the day we buried it. I am still wondering if maybe we should have put a cassette player in so the school choir cassette tape in the capsule can actually be played in 2046 seeing as technology has moved on so much. I’m looking forward to seeing the time capsule being reburied at MSJ. I’m planning to be there in 2046 when it’s opened too; I wonder what the girls will make of what they find inside?”

There were cheers as the metal box was uncovered from its hiding place in the wall. Roger Woolley commented, “I had no idea it would still be in such good condition after all of these years. It’s great!”

“It seems appropriate that we now have the time capsule in Malvern St James’s grounds and it’s especially good timing as the school celebrated its 10th anniversary during the last academic year”, said Miss Mullenger.

The time capsule, which has been left unopened, is due to be reburied in the grounds of Malvern St James, where it will stay until 2046, when it can finally be opened.

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